Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Tongaat-Hulett board requests temporary suspension of JSE listing

Embattled sugar producer Tongaat-Hulett has requested the suspension of its listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), with immediate effect the group announced on Monday.

The company’s secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange has also been suspended.

The move comes amid concerns over possible financial irregularities at the company, and questions over corporate governance in the private sector after the spectacular failure of retailer Steinhoff.

READ MORE: Tongaat mess puts Deloitte in another sticky situation

Last month, Tongaat revealed that its financial statements for the year ended March 31 would need to be restated. This is after an on-going financial review revealed past practises that were of “significant concern” to the board, and “resulted in financial statements that did notreflect Tongaat Hulett’s underlying business performance accurately”.

The company said the restatements could amount to a reduction of between R3.5-billion to R4.5-billion. Problematic areas identified included how the company previously accounted for land sales in terms of international financial reporting standards as well as how it valued its growing sugar cane.

The board said that it has now concluded that the company’s unaudited interim results for the six months ended September 30 2018 cannot be relied upon, nor can its February trading statement issued for the twelve months ended March 31 2019.

Due to its concerns that there is “insufficient information in the market to enable investors to make informed decisions” and a risk of speculative trading it voluntarily approached the JSE with a request for the suspension.

Other objectives for the suspension also included allowing the group’s management more time to support the completion of the forensic investigation and the restatements, in order to release the March 2019 financial statements, which it has previously said it aimed to release by October.

The decision has not been taken lightly the board said. “Whilst the Board is conscious that some shareholders or potential investors would prefer to retain the ability to buy and sell shares, the Board believes that the temporary suspension is in the best interests of shareholders as a whole,” it said.

It viewed the suspension as temporary the company said and expected it to be lifted “no later than the time of release of the March 2019 financial statements”.

Tongaat-Hulett also wanted to address any possibility of there being “two levels of information in the market” arising from the various processes involved the restructuring and reduction of the company’s debt. The company announced in mid-May that it was negotiating a standstill agreement with its lenders and other “obligers”.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Steel strike: Workers struck while the iron was hot

After almost three weeks, labour and employers have reached a deal — setting the steel industry back on its path to recovery

Why handing over ICC suspects could help Sudan’s transition

A failed coup in September, weeks of brinkmanship, and a looming crisis in eastern Sudan have laid bare tensions between civilians and military leaders

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…